Richland company rushes to roll out temperature screenings
Richland’s Lisa Chapman-Rosa is always looking for innovative ways to help her companies thrive.
Not that she’s really needed to.
Her Tri-Cities Mobile Drug & Alcohol Testing business has had plenty of work around the Mid-Columbia.
The construction company she started in 2007, Total Site Services LLC, a woman-owned business, has earned millions of dollars in contracts for projects at military bases and the Hanford nuclear reservation, and, most recently, a $4.9 million deal to build roads and other infrastructure at the Vista Field development project in Kennewick.
Total Site Services started with a handful of staff and one project, but has grown, adding more projects, bigger projects, repeat customers and now 30-plus employees.
But Chapman-Rosa never stops thinking about ways to expand – even during a pandemic.
“You’ve got to look for the opportunities to stay relevant,” she said.
In March, she added employee temperature scanning to her companies’ menu of services.
“In early February, when I heard the (Centers for Disease Control) started talking about the possibility of employee temperature scanning as a way to ensure that employees with symptoms of the illness do not infect their coworkers, I jumped into action,” she said.
She started buying as many personal protection equipment, or PPE, products as she could.
“Because I already have the Tri Cities Mobile Drug & Alcohol Testing company, I thought it would be a natural added service and started buying noncontact temperature scanning devices, masks, gloves, smocks, safety glasses and sanitizer to be ready,” she said.
In March, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, gave employers the green light to take employees’ temperatures during a pandemic, and with all the items Chapman-Rosa ordered starting to be delivered, she began marketing the new service.
Chapman-Rosa sent out emails, made phone calls and started getting responses.
“We are currently providing the service to the construction industry, Hanford, food processing plants and farms,” she said. “I have been helping companies that call figure the best path forward for them. Everyone has a little different situation, so helping them to navigate the regulations and what works best for each company is important.”
In early June, the company had 32 noncontact temperature scanners.
“And I have nine more coming,” Chapman-Rosa said. “They are all (Food and Drug Administration)-approved, and are non-contact, so we don’t have to keep sanitizing. The costs of them are cheap, between $119 and $139, which is not bad.”
She hired 18 employees to do the scanning.
“We trained them. We bring them in, talk about all of the different PPE,” she said. “They are given the noncontact scanning device, a protection smock, safety glasses, gloves, masks. The scanners head out to the sites. We’re very mobile. People jump in the car and go where they’re needed, grab their bag of PPE. We provide them hard hats, or the company will, if needed.”
Chapman-Rosa said essential businesses that remain operational during the Covid-19 pandemic – and counties trying to get to Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Washington State Recovery Plan – are faced with the challenge of figuring out how to minimize the risk of spreading the virus while providing their critical products and services.
“Temperature scanning is another means that allows you to buy down risk, better protect your workers and increase confidence on the job site,” she said. “Much like plexiglass barriers, social distancing and frequent hand washing, employee temperature scanning is another tool to help keep our workplace and communities safer.”
It’s also another way to ensure that employees with illness stay home, she added.
“But it goes both ways. Employees at some bars and restaurants say they feel encouraged to come in and work by their employers even when they’re feeling sick,” Chapman-Rosa said.
She said she’s been told by many of the companies that hired her that they could be using her services for at least the next year.
“People start to get complacent, and we’ve got to be more diligent,” Chapman-Rosa said. “Everything changes daily. You almost have to have a full-time person staying on top of this. I do. I have a full-time safety manager.”
Chapman-Rosa is pleased she was able to put more people to work.
“I am most proud that we are in a position to put 18 people to work at a time when our community is hurting,” she said. “Eighteen families now have an income. I will be hiring 10 to 15 more people in the next couple weeks as companies are able to open and they get their safety plans and procedures in place. Bringing these people on for me is the real blessing.”
And potentially saving a life is an added bonus.
“If taking your temperature and wearing a mask saves one life, I’d say it’s worth it,” she said.
Tri-Cities Mobile Drug & Alcohol Testing: 509-947-4554.
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